Sunday, November 23, 2014

Moses Rises in Texas

Moses Rises in Texas

I read an NPR news story about the inclusion of Moses in the state’s social studies standards for textbooks.  Here’s part of the article.  My letter to Texas Board of Education member Ken Mercer follows.

The standards are called the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills and were created in 2010. They state that high school students in U.S. government are expected to "identify the individuals, whose principles of laws and government institutions informed the American founding documents, including those of Moses, William Blackstone, John Locke, and Charles de Montesquieu."

The majority Republican, 15-member Texas Board of Education defended the standards during meetings this week.

"Moses was not a Founding Father. However, I believe he did influence our Founding Fathers," says Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio.

Mr. Mercer,

In reading about the adoption of social studies textbooks in Texas, I came across the name of Moses as one who influenced our Founding Fathers.  Although it has been some time since I studied the writings of these esteemed gentlemen, I can’t recall any mention of Moses affecting their thinking.  I then came across your quote:

"Moses was not a Founding Father. However, I believe he did influence our Founding Fathers," says Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio.

Do you mean to suggest that the Texas Board of Education will include in its educational standards certain influences and individuals based solely on a belief that those influences and individuals played a significant role in the forming of our early history, including the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence?

All I can say is the rest of the country should begin praying for the children of the Lone Star State.

John Clark

North Carolina

Friday, November 21, 2014

Republicans 'No' at Every Zig and Zag

The U.S. House of Representatives has filed a suit challenging the unilateral actions of the Obama administration in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care). As the NY Times reported today (November 21, 2014):

The suit accuses the Obama administration of unlawfully postponing a requirement that larger employers offer health coverage to their full-time employees or pay penalties. (Larger companies are defined as those with 50 or more employees.)

After too many times to count of voting to repeal the entire Obama Care law, the House leadership brings a lawsuit saying the President is not implementing the law as it is written.  These actions, contradictory on their face, only make sense when the goal of obstruction of Obama’s efforts is acknowledged as the sole raison d’etre of the ‘house of the people.’

Thankfully, although a bit late, Obama is taking unilateral action on important issues of our nation.  The speech this week laying out his steps to address the pressing human crisis of our failed immigration system is another example.  With majorities in both houses beginning in January, although slim in the Senate, Republicans no doubt will be placing boulders in the middle of the road of improvements for our country.  Already drags on investing in our infrastructure and renewable energy created by the Republicans are hurting this country, especially when action on these critical issues would create work for thousands of Americans.

Although not surprising, the result remains a tragedy.  Hopefully, Obama will act unilaterally when he can to at least try to keep the U.S. within the rational trends of the 21st century.